Alex Murdaugh requests continuation in financial case trial
BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. -
Attorneys for Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer convicted of murdering his wife and son, say the publicity of his previous trials make it difficult for the court system to find an impartial jury.
Questionnaires have been completed by 167 potential jurors, write Murdaugh's legal team, and 147 of those indicate prior knowledge of Murdaugh and his murder trial. For this reason, Richard Harpootlian, on behalf of Murdaugh, submitted a request to Beaufort County's grand jury requesting a change of venue, but also suggests "the better course of action is to simply continue this case, and the other financial fraud cases, until at least one year after the conclusion of the murder trial. What is the rush to dispose of this case before the end of 2023?" Harpootlian questioned.
Murdaugh was found guilty of the double-murder in March 2022, and in September, his legal advisors filed a motion seeking a new trial based on alleged jury tampering by Colleton County Clerk of Court, Rebecca Hill. Just two weeks later, he entered a plea of guilty to 22 financial crimes, which Harpootlian references in his request.
"The Defendant has entered a plea in federal court to the same conduct for which he will be tried in this case," says Harpootlian.
Murdaugh's state trial calls into question dozens of accusations, including those that Murdaugh stole money from an insurance claim involving the death of his housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, in 2018.
Attorneys claim, due to national media coverage as well as movies and docuseries produced about the murder trial, an impartial jury for Murdaugh's alleged financial crimes cannot be seated in Beaufort County.
"Also," adds Harpootlian, "it is very unlikely that prospective jurors from any county in the Circuit have been less exposed to the Murdaugh media coverage."
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